Cavs: Kevin Porter Jr.’s spot-up efficiency was a key positive from 2019-20

Cleveland Cavaliers wing Kevin Porter Jr. reacts in-game. (Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images)
Cleveland Cavaliers wing Kevin Porter Jr. reacts in-game. (Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Kevin Porter Jr.’s spot-up efficiency was a key positive for the Cleveland Cavaliers from his rookie year.

Going forward, it’s only natural to expect Kevin Porter Jr.‘s role to expand for the Cleveland Cavaliers. While he still is far from a finished product, the 20-year-old made his presence felt as a rookie in 2019-20 in his 23.2 minutes per game.

Porter had 10.0 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 0.9 steals per outing, and to a large extent leading into the season’s novel coronavirus-induced hiatus, KPJ was starting to get a bigger minutes-share. That was nice to see, as Porter is one of the Cavs’ best young players.

He again does need to show it game-to-game, but given Porter’s finishing touch with both hands near the rim, his athleticism/explosiveness, ability to generate space easily with his handle, he’ll be leaned on more and more. With Porter’s talent level, though, that’s just fine for the Cavaliers, who should be expanding his role offensively from here on out.

Despite him needing to continue to develop in terms of his feel for improving in getting around off-ball screens to contest/deter pull-ups, Porter has shown flashes of high level perimeter defense as well. That makes me even more bullish on him, too.

Now in terms of an area I’d like to see him improve, though, it would be nice for Porter to be more efficient on his pull-ups in year two. He had an effective field goal shooting clip of only 34.0 percent on those looks, per’s shot tracking data.

If he can take advantage of the space he’s often able to generate off-the-bounce and knock down more pull-ups, he’ll be even harder for defenses to account for. That’s even more so in the driving and playmaking sense, too, of which was also a bright spot from the Cavs’ now-past season, and Porter had an assist rate of 17.1 percent in his last 12 games active.

For a score-first player, Porter’s passing feel led to my applause frequently, and his willingness in that regard will only help Larry Nance Jr., Kevin Love and others in the near future.

In terms of the off-ball sense, while Porter is always going to be more of an on-ball player when it comes to his impact/presence in settled offense, Porter’s cutting feel got better as the season progressed. More development there will only aid him in coming years as well, and the same goes for another off-ball aspect of his game.

Porter’s spot-up efficiency was also a key positive, in particular, for the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2019-20.

Although Porter shot 33.5 percent overall from three-point range in 2019-20, which is not great for a perimeter player, he was very good when it came to spot-ups/catch-and-shoot triples.

As a rookie, Porter hit 40.7 percent of his catch-and-shoot three-point attempts, per’s shot tracking data. Additionally, he placed in the 79th percentile on spot-ups with 1.14 points per possession in that scoring playtype and on a frequency of 18.3 percent, per Synergy Sports.

KPJ’s spot-up hit rate was again a key positive from 2019-20 for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

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Even if Porter, who only hit 25.7 percent on pull-up three-point attempts, does not end up being a viable off-the-bounce deep threat, him further proving to be highly capable off-the-catch from deep will pay dividends.

That will only help him as a driving threat and in turn, as a playmaker to counter that, if Porter can take advantage of hard closeouts to him off-the-catch after ball-swings to him behind the arc.

Moreover, I’d think in continued minutes-share alongside a high quality passing big in Nance and/or more burn with Kevin Love will only aid Porter from a spot-up standpoint.

The same would hold true in more stretches involving Darius Garland, and I’d imagine Dylan Windler, a more than capable secondary playmaker.

Given Windler’s shooting ability (a 40.6 percent three-point hit rate in a four-year collegiate career at Belmont), and his passing/cutting feel, I’d imagine he and Porter will quickly develop great on-floor chemistry.

Now I get Windler hasn’t played yet with Cleveland due to complications involving a stress reaction in his left leg, but he is reportedly progressing well in his recovery. Factoring in that, I believe will be healthy next year and ready to roll after hopefully adjusting after some meaningful time in games.

Windler being able to create for others and be a solid pick-and-roll ball handler to go with his off-catch/off-movement shooting could feasibly generate quality spot-up looks for Porter regularly in stretches in games, too.

Anyhow, while you’d like to see him be able to hit a bit more on pull-up deep attempts in coming years and/or maybe hit even a tad bit on catch-and-shoot deep balls, KPJ’s spot-up efficiency in year one was a key 2019-20 positive for Cleveland.

If Porter can hit 36.0 percent from downtown in the near future, I’d gladly take that, with the other ways he impacts games. Regardless, it was encouraging to see him showcase plenty of spot-up three-point shooting capability as a rookie, and I believe he’ll further build on that in year two, just as Sexton did in his second season with the Cavs.

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Keep letting it fly off-the-catch, KPJ!